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Journal/Book: Nucl. Acids Res.
Published: 2023
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Cell-free transcription-translation system – A dual read-out assay to characterize riboswitch function

J. Kaur Bains, N. Qureshi, B. Ceylan, A. Wacker, H. Schwalbe
Abstract:
Cell-free protein synthesis assays have become a valuable tool to understand transcriptional and translational processes. Here, we established a fluorescence-based coupled in vitro transcription-translation assay as a read-out system to simultaneously quantify mRNA and protein levels. We utilized the well-established quantification of the expression of shifted green fluorescent protein (sGFP) as a read-out of protein levels. In addition, we determined mRNA quantities using a fluorogenic Mango-(IV) RNA aptamer that becomes fluorescent upon binding to the fluorophore thiazole orange (TO). We utilized a Mango-(IV) RNA aptamer system comprising four subsequent Mango-(IV) RNA aptamer elements with improved sensitivity by building Mango arrays. The design of this reporter assay resulted in a sensitive read-out with a high signal-to-noise ratio, allowing us to monitor transcription and translation time courses in cell-free assays with continuous monitoring of fluorescence changes as well as snapshots of the reaction. Furthermore, we applied this dual read-out assay to investigate the function of thiamine-sensing riboswitches thiM and thiC from Escherichia coli and the adenine-sensing riboswitch ASW from Vibrio vulnificus and pbuE from Bacillus subtilis, which represent transcriptional and translational on- and off-riboswitches, respectively. This approach enabled a microplate-based application, a valuable addition to the toolbox for high-throughput screening of riboswitch function.
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Prof. Dr. Harald Schwalbe
Institut für Organische Chemie und Chemische Biologie
Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität
Max-von-Laue-Str. 7
D-60438 Frankfurt am Main
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